Who We Are: Mission & History


Compelled to action by the convictions of our founders, St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle and King County joins the community to listen, engage, and build relationships that assist and advocate for individuals and families to meet basic needs and achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

Mission Renewal

We have been doing work in Seattle and King County for over 100 years and around the world for 185 years. We have learned that nothing in our world remains static. Change is inevitable. It is incumbent upon us to adapt, evolve and be capable of managing ever-changing environments.  At St. Vincent de Paul, we call this mission renewal.

We are activating everyone in our organization to be in tune with renewal, its value, and how it affects us. To start, we do not hide. We listen. We work hard to understand the dimensions and impact of the changes and make action plans to move forward. We see renewal as a transformative act. It is a spiritual and emotional reawakening that connects our agency in a deeper and more meaningful way to the work we do in our communities throughout King County.

We examine everything within our organization in the context of our mission work. Integrating renewal into our operations gives us the opportunity to assess the work we do and learn how to improve our governance structure, our internal departments, and our relationship to the community at large.

The benefits of Mission Renewal are significant. We know our employees, leaders, partners, and others gain fresh perspectives, renewed spirits, and new ideas as they collaborate and work with us. This accelerates development of new ideas and strategies that help us resolve problems with energy and zeal.


A young law student named Frederic Ozanam founded the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1833 in Paris, France. Ozanam and five friends wanted to form a group to assist the poor, and decided to call it “Conference of Charity.” It was later renamed The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, named after the patron saint of the poor.

The founding members met with Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity who served in the most impoverished part of Paris, for guidance. She sent them on home visits and truly molded the idea of serving the poor with dignity and respect. Pope John Paul II later beatified both Ozanam and Rendu.

The first meeting in the United States took place in 1845 in St. Louis, Missouri. Right now, the US has over 4,600 Conferences with over 146,000 members. Our members annually give well over 7,600,000 hours of volunteer service, participate in over 650,000 home visits, and manage another 900,000 plus visits to prisons, hospitals, elderly, and to others in need. Our service to the poor amounts to over $330 million, and the in-kind value of food, clothing and furniture totals over $80 million.

King County Land Acknowledgement: We would like to acknowledge that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Seattle | King County is on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe. 

The SVDP Helpline

Our Helpline assists people who need help with basic needs such as Food, Clothing, Rent, Utilities, etc.

Volunteer With Us

Having people lend a hand in service to neighbors is the “core” of what we do.

Shop at Our eBay Store!

Browse through our 2,400 items of clothing, jewelry, shoes, accessories and more!